STYGMA IV are a band that I had never come across until I received a copy of their new live album "A History In Pain" in the mail. After doing some research, I realized that STYGMA IV was in now way a new band. With six releases already on their resume, these Austrians are in now way newcomers to the metal community. While many bands these days see it fit to release a live album after only two releases, STYGMA IV thankfully are not one of these bands. With "A History In Pain", STYGMA IV have demonstrated exactly how a live album should be composed, as well as delivered.
With songs spanning over their last four albums, "A History In Pain" is an excellent compilation that works as a great introduction to the band's material for those new to them (like me), while it also demonstrates the band's capabilities in a live scenario. With a line-up consisting of Ali Hilzensauer (bass), Ritchie Krenmaier (vocals), GŁnter Maier (guitars), and Herb Greisberger (drums), it must be mentioned that the band's live proficiency demonstrated on this album is astounding. The guitars are razor-sharp, the drums are always thundering, the bass never falters, and most notably, Ritchie Krenmaier's vocals never miss a note. The intensity he brings to the microphone compliments the intense nature of the music perfectly.
As I mentioned earlier, this was my first encounter with STYGMA IV so I was not familiar with any of their past material. However, after hearing songs like "Calculation Towers", "Mirror Man" and the epic "Sleep", I must say that I was simply floored. Though all of the songs on this album are excellent, these three really stood out for me. Also, their cover of IRON MAIDEN's "22 Acacia Avenue" was nice surprise as well.
With a stellar production and solid crowd atmosphere, it becomes difficult to find anything to complain about on this album. Regardless of name and label trouble in the past, STYGMA IV have demonstrated here that they will continue to persevere, while releasing high-quality Metal along the way. (Online June 20, 2003)